ADAMS — On an overcast day with periodic rain, runners from far and wide came to take in the beautiful Berkshire County foliage during the second annual Berkshire Running Center's Ramblefest Half Marathon and 8K on Sunday.
The 13.1-mile half marathon began at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesboro and finished at the Visitor Center in Adams. Even with a light rain, runners blazed through the scenic trail. In fact, the morning rain helped cool the area, making for an even more enjoyable race.
Mike Giulian, 39, of Pittsfield and Dillon Radacsi, 24, of Otis were the first two runners across the finish line for the 8K portion of the race. Radacsi and Giulian were neck and neck for a majority of the race, but Giulian finished strong, pulling away down the stretch and finishing first in 32 minutes, 9 seconds.
"We were kind of together the whole way," Radacsi said. "The last mile and a half, I kind of got in front of him for a little ways. But [Giulian] had so much more energy than me. He got in front of me and took off. For me, I was like, I'm just going to try and maintain. I wasn't going to try and push."
Radacsi added that he loves to enjoy the scenery of the course. From the leaves, to the river running through a downhill portion of the trail. The flat, downhill track is very pleasing for runners.
Giulian was focused more on finishing strong than enjoying the foliage.
"Your shorts are a little heavy, your shoes are wet, but it's actually nice weather with the sun coming out now," Giulian said after crossing the finish line. "I never really get to take it all in, but maybe on my cool down I will."
One of the youngest top finishers traveled all the way from Somerset, N.J., to compete in the Ramblefest. Arianne Bilodeau was visiting family in Cheshire and, at the suggestion of her mother, decided to compete in the race. The 12-year-old had only competed in 5k's, but she adapted well to the 8k, finishing in 34:10.
"It was very beautiful scenery," she said. "I like the color of the leaves and it was just really beautiful.
"I've never actually done this long of course before. ... 8k you know you've got to pace yourself, because in 5k's you can go a little bit faster in the first mile."
The 8k featured a lot of talented runners, and the half marathon attracted even more high-end racers.
Glarius Rop, 33, of Springfield placed first overall with a 1:10:07 time. He's using the Ramblefest as training for full marathons. The first female finisher was Apryl Sabadosa, 33, of Westfield (1:19:05), who is also using the Ramblefest as training for a full marathon. Her training — running about 90 to 100 miles a week — is a little different than the average racer's, because she trains and races barefoot.
When she started running, she decided that barefoot was the best way to run because you're born without shoes, so running without shoes was the most natural way to compete. She started with socks and switched to toe-shoes, before settling on going fully barefoot. On rougher courses she will put on socks.
"The first few miles were rough and it wasn't the most comfortable, but I continued to run on it," she said.
She added that she learned running with shoes can affect your stride, and that bending the middle of your foot while running can reduce impact on your joints.
She's been running barefoot for about five years. She said she's never suffered a serious injury while running barefoot and suggests that other runners look into doing the same.
"Even if you don't race barefoot, even just doing it some of the time is good," she said. "It's good for your joints, it's good for your body, it makes you stronger. You're using your feet, it makes your feet strong. A lot of runners get injuries in their feet."
Half marathon results
1. Glarius Rop, 1:10:07; 2. Dennis Roche, 1:11:57; 3. Dan Smith 1:13:11; 4. Jonathon Joyce, 1:13:46; 5. Mark Rabasco 1:16:51; 6. Apryl Sabadosa 1:19:05; 7. Stephen Foley 1:24:49; 8. Lee Brown 1:32:36; 9. Stefan Ogle 1:33:29; 10. Jake Eberwein 1:34:10; 11. April Varellas 1:34:45; 12. Michael Hoberman 1:36:07; 13. Heather Montanaro 1:38:19; 14. Patrick O'Neil 1:39:25; 15. Christine Arace 1:39:54; 16. Donnie Carlow 1:40:12; 17. Simon Rasin 1:41:05; 18. Frank Krol 1:42:48; 19. Kimberly Gero 1:43:02; 20. Nathan Backer 1:43:30.
1. Mike Giulian 32:09; 2. Dillon Radacsi 32:15; 3. Joel Pekosz 33:02; 4. Ryan Dallaghelfa 33:42; 5. Arianne Bilodeau 34:10; 6. Blaine Freadman 34:57; 7. Daniel Radacsi 35:26; 8. Kevin Gage 36:23; 9. Mia Albano 36:27; 10. Francisco Ramirez 36:50; 11. Leigh Howard 36:52; 12. Mike Wall 37:10; 13. Paul Howes 37:40; 14. Nick Moulton 37:48; 15. Stephanie Bressette 38:25; 16. Glen Radasci 39:56; 17. Paul Strobel 39:59; 18. Matthew Cripps 40:04; 19. Lara Denmark 40:14; 20. Mark Rumbutis 40:18.
Reach sports writer Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252 or @TheAkeemGlaspie.